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The Stone Implements of the Maori

Toki Whakangao

Toki Whakangao

The form of adze that has, as the Maori expresses it, two uma, or breasts (shoulders), is termed a toki whakangao by the Tuhoe Tribe. It has a somewhat short bevel facet on the back, and a short, not very sharply pronounced, one on the face. In some cases two bevel facets are noted on the back—that is to say, after the blade has been formed and the level ground smooth a second and very short facet was ground on it near the cutting-edge. This would be effected by the grinder holding the tool at a slightly higher angle with the grinding-stone. This adze is the last one used in working slabs of timber for house-posts, &c., and is employed only to put the finishing-touch on such timber. This is done by adzing off a series of fine chips in order to adze a pattern on the face of the timber, which has already been dressed down to an even surface. Such patterns, which were much admired, were of several kinds, each having its own name.Thus a house-post is often seen with the two patterns known as ngao-tu and ngao-pae adzed on its surface, the former being upright and the latter horizontal, though both are the same form of pattern. These zigzag or herring-bone patterns are worked alternately on the face of the timber from top to bottom, first one and then the other. In addition to those mentioned, Tutakangahau, of Tuhoe, gave toro, heretua, miri, whakahekeheke, and ao maramara as names of methods of adzing.

There are other patterns that are adzed on the surface of dressed timbers, each having its proper name.

The word miri is used by the Tuhoe folk to describe the dressing-smooth of the surface of timber after the rough work has been done. The next process, the adzing of a pattern on the surface, is described by the word whakangao.

The expression toro, says Te Whatahoro, is applied to the third process in adzing a piece of timber into form—that process which page 152reduces the baulk to the desired dimensions, save and except the light finishing-work. This process and the implement used in it seem to be both included in the description of the term toki toro.

Te Whatahoro states that ordinarily speaking there were three processes in adzing a surface: (1.) The ranga, or scoring; timber chipped across grain at intervals to facilitate adzing-off the wood. (2.) The aupatu, or adzing roughly into form. (3.) The tamaku, or finishing process, which leaves an even surface. In this final dressing, which is work for adepts only, the aim is to leave no mark on the dressed surface except at the spot where the adze "takes" the timber, and to leave there a distinct mark across the grain. But such marks must be at regular, even distances, as is seen in various patterns so formed on finished timbers. Different styles of adzes are used in these three operations and sometimes they were wielded by different persons.